Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Kool Tour Concert

Okay, I've got some time, so I figured I'd post about the Kool Tour concert featuring The Roots.

First of all, I ran into a lot of old friends up in there. I ran into Rodney Lomax, whom I met through my brother. Also, actress Tiffany Pemberton (Delusions, Divine Manipulation of the Threads) was working behind the scenes. I was glad to see her again. I came between 8 PM and 9 PM, so I got in for free (Cool, or should I say Kool...heh heh). They had a little sheet up where you could "tag" your name. That's graffiti slang for writing your name. I had writer's block, the most I could come up with was "Markus, Kool Tour, M-town!!!" Yes, I know. Hemingway's got nothing on me, right? I met an up-and-coming rapper/aspiring label head who is planning on releasing his album on his own label, Tibbit Records. Tibbit stands for "This is better because it's true" music. I wish him much success. We were in line to get free airbrushed t-shirts. I got one with a little turntable on the front and a big turntable on the back. I am so hip-hop right now...kinda. While I was in line, the group Blackalicious took the stage. They were cool, but their performance was kinda laid-back. I ran into Jason Harris, a member of the Iron Mic Coalition (www.ironmic.net). We chilled out, talked about hip-hop. I also ran into Shaka, another hip-hop fan who was an extra in What Goes Around (www.pittstopproductions.com). My good buddy Paul "P-Dub" West was in the place, as was his buddy Richard Jones. I even ran into Leroy Brewer's son. Leroy Brewer is a former coworker of mine from when I worked at the University of Memphis many moons ago. I also ran into spoken-word poet IQ, who plans to drop two albums this year. Finally, I also chatted with actor/spoken-word poet J'Malo Torriel, one half of Brotha's Keepa, a poetry/hip-hop group (www.innercitysouth.com). He was talking about how he wants to be like me when I grow up. Shoot, I don't have an album available at Spin Street and Cat's! I appreciated the support, though.

The next act was Miri-Ben Ari. She is a hip-hop violinist. She had a DJ play some of the vocal parts of different hip-hop/R&B songs while she played the melody or the beat. She played some Jay-Z, "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe (one of my favorite songs), and other hits. The last song she played was from her next album (She has one out, by the way...Google her). It was a song that had vocals from a Martin Luther King speech. Real cool.

The last act was THE ROOTS!!! The Roots consist of Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson on drums, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter as the lead rapper, Captain Kirk on guitar, Hub on bass guitar, Kamal on the keyboard, and Knuckles on percussion, I believe.

They rocked from beginning to end. They did their new single, "Don't Feel Right", and they performed their classics like "Don't Say Nuthin", "Dynamite", "Love of My Life", and others. The covers were crazy, too. Being a hip-hop band (ie actually playing instruments), they can really get creative. They performed Ray Charles' "Every Word I Say", and Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". The drummer started singing on "Smooth Criminal" at first. They also played hip-hop covers. I recall hearing some 2 Live Crew, Tupac ("I Get Around"), and Notorious B.I.G. ("One More Chance"). They also played Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" which they then turned into Kanye West's "Gold Digger", which samples that song. They also covered Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie", Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thang", and then they got into a few popular Down South hip-hop tracks. The younguns call it "crunk" music. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The crowd was live, people were dancing from beginning to end. I wish I could've chatted with the band, but I had to go to work in the morning. I was tired yesterday, but it was worth it. You gotta enjoy yourself sometime. For more info about the Roots, go to www.okayplayer.com or www.myspace.com/theroots . Be easy, readers.

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